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Current Group Members


Isabel Angelo

UCLA graduate student 2020 -

Isabel studies exoplanet system architectures to better understand how planets form and evolve. Currently, she is working to conduct a spectroscopic survey to search for stellar companions to Kepler planet hosts. This survey will help us understand how binarity, a common outcome of star formation, affects the formation and dynamical evolution of planets with more than one host star.


Judah Van Zandt

UCLA graduate student 2019 -

Judah’s research uses the radial velocity (RV) and transit methods to study the planetary structure of other stellar systems. He is currently conducting an RV survey with the Keck and APF telescopes to understand the relationship between long-period giant planets and close-in rocky ones. Combining these RVs with high-precision astrometry measurements from the Gaia and Hipparcos missions gives his survey sensitivity to companions even with periods much greater than the survey duration. Website.


Mason MacDougall

UCLA graduate student 2019 -

Mason is interested in determining both the typical and extreme values of exoplanet orbital eccentricities. He uses improved photometric modeling techniques to constrain the eccentricities of small planets, following them up with RV measurements from the HIRES instrument. His goal is to apply such methods to better infer the underlying eccentricity distribution of all transiting planets. Publications

Current Group Members


Gregory Gilbert

UCLA postdoc 2021 -

Greg earned his PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics from the University of Chicago, where he studied the architectures and dynamics of high-multiplicity exoplanetary systems. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to exoplanet science, and he has often found that the solution to open astrophysical questions can be found by adopting tools from other scientific disciplines such as molecular biology or information theory. Since arriving at UCLA, he has been applying these techniques to build a homogenous census of transiting planets discovered by Kepler, K2, and TESS. He is also using the Keck Planet Finder to compare the properties of planets discovered by radial velocity surveys to those discovered via transits.


Dakotah Tyler

UCLA graduate student 2020 -

Dakotah is generally interested in the demographics of exoplanets in our galaxy. To better under the distribution of planets that we observe, he studies atmospheric mass-loss from multiple angles. He does transit spectroscopy to study the atmospheric erosion of helium in hot-Jupiters that are bathed in high energy stellar radiation. He is also leading a small radial velocity survey on systems that harbor both sub-Neptunes and super-Earths to better under the dominant mass-loss mechanism responsible for carving demographics trends such as the "Radius Gap" and “sub-Neptune desert”.


Luke Handley

UCLA undergraduate 2022 -

Luke is interested in improving the precision of radial velocity measurements of planet hosting stars by mitigating the effects of active stellar photospheres. His projects are interdisciplinary and leverage unique mathematical tools to find small planets which may otherwise go unnoticed. Currently, he is designing software to optimize targeting with the new Keck Planet Finder spectrograph at Keck Observatory, hoping to aid in the discovery of Earth-like worlds.

Former Group Members


Jon Zink

UCLA graduate student 2019 - 2021

Jon used the population of planets around other stars to understand the physical processes that dictate planet formation. To accomplish this goal he used the K2 mission data to extract a homogenous catalog of transiting planets. This wide survey of the ecliptic plane enables examination of the stellar host's role in these formation mechanisms. Website

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